To finish my course

Acts-20 24

Taken from Acts 20:24, the Verse of the Day for May 27, 2014 relates Paul’s final words, as he departs from the believers at Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem and ultimately to Rome, the place of the final phase of his journey.

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

This verse also brings to mind Paul’s admonition in 1 Timothy 6:12:

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

In 2 Timothy 4:7-8 in the Amplified Bible Paul makes a similar declaration, as he recognizes that his departure from this life is close at hand:

I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.

[As to what remains] henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return).

Throughout the New Testament Paul uses a number of athletic references, such as “finishing my course, or race.” In such instances my thoughts often turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay. Once the baton hit my hand, I grabbed it and focused on completing the race. If the other three members of the team had given me a lead, my task was to maintain it or if we were behind when I got the baton, I had to make up the distance and then pull ahead before crossing the finish line. My desire was not just to finish but to finish strong, to press toward the mark for prize and to win.

I recall that many times the outcome of the track meet was known before completing the last two races which were relays. As members of God’s Team with Jesus Christ as our champion, our captain, we have already won, but we still need to finish our course, the race that is set before us. The believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot possibly lose; however, the challenge is to finish our individual race with our P.B. (personal best). So that like Paul we can also make known that “I have finished my race with joy. . . I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Listen to the Overtones as they sing of “Unstoppable Joy,” inspired by Acts 20; 24:

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